Shane Long grabbed his first league goal since April as Reading carried their cup form into the Coca-Cola Championship with a vital 1-0 win over Barnsley.
The Republic of Ireland striker took advantage of a fumble from Barnsley goalkeeper Luke Steele to poke home and give manager Brian McDermott his first league win after FA Cup wins over Liverpool and Burnley.
Former chief scout McDermott was celebrating his first game since being confirmed as full-time boss and he saw the Royals put in a decent performance to climb to within three points of safety.
Simon Church had the first effort on goal, skidding a left-foot shot wide of the post from the edge of the area before strike partner Long came close to an opener.
Barnsley failed to clear their lines and Long pulled the ball down before crashing in a shot from just inside the penalty area which Steele did well to kick away to safety.
Jonathan Macken then had Barnsley's first chance when he dragged a shot wide from 15 yards before Long struck in the 29th minute.
On-loan Stoke full-back Andy Griffin put over a cross from the right which Steele came to claim but he made a mess of it and could only spill the ball back into danger.
Gylfi Sigurdsson was quick to react and squared the ball back into the middle where Long was on hand to tap into an open goal.
Adam Hammill came close to an instant equaliser with a fine shot on the turn but the Royals held on to take their lead into the break.
Macken was replaced by Daniel Bogdanovic at half-time as Barnsley boss Mark Robins looked for improvement from his side, but it was Long who came close to a second goal - extending Steele with a powerful effort from 25 yards. The goalkeeper's handling was more secure on this occasion and he made a smart stop to keep the Tykes in the game.
Reading were pushing for a second and came within inches of doing so moments later.
Ryan Bertrand scurried clear down the left flank and drilled in a cross to the far post where Jobi McAnuff arrived to slam a shot into the post. The ball ricocheted, struck Steele on the back and somehow ran free of danger.
It was a huge let-off for Barnsley but they were unable to profit from the escape as Reading held on to claim the win.
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